Monika Nowak’s pop art masterpieces are explosions of creativity and imagination – intuitive, energetic and original. While her subjects display the attributes of pop culture’s classic heroines, being beautiful, provocative, powerful, humorous or stylish, they are also the product of her personal vision with contradictory traits such as fragility, sweetness and a lyricism. Their ‘comic strip’ origins link them to our childhood memories, adding an extra layer of nostalgia to render these works pop art at its most powerful.
Monika’s work inhabits a fantastical narrative landscape which abounds in fascinating colours, tributes and tropes. She almost overplays the femininity of the individuals she represents, making us question what it means to be a woman in the modern world. Each piece offers both a critique of society and an affirmation of the artist's fierce desire to imprint her personality on what she describes as a “chaotic, saturated and obsessive world”.
Working closely with a fashion photographer and makeup artist, Monika discusses her initial ideas for a painting or a series before choosing a model and setting up a photo shoot. She then orients the shoot according to her plans, but this is only the beginning of the creative process. The session provides a starting point as even while it is happening, her ideas begin to transform and take flight. She uses the photographs as source material, combining elements from different pictures, exaggerating certain aspects yet retaining a certain overall realism. In this way she creates what she describes as an ‘idea’ of the feminine.
Cutting edge technology is an important part of Monika’s creative world. Her graphic design and digital skills allow her imagination free rein, as once she visualises an idea, they offer her manifold possibilities of developing it in new and exciting ways. She says: “I am not the type to glorify or minimise technology – it is simply the material of an artist, nothing more. Art is a way of entering the mind of a creator, not of a computer.
It is true that technology offers new possibilities, however we must remember that to create is to put emotion before reflection, before the tool.”